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  • FIRST POST
    • LucyBea
    • By LucyBea 17th May 17, 11:53 PM
    • 37Posts
    • 35Thanks
    LucyBea
    Court papers received (Millennium & Gladstones)
    • #1
    • 17th May 17, 11:53 PM
    Court papers received (Millennium & Gladstones) 17th May 17 at 11:53 PM
    Hello,
    I have been using your excellent site to defend an unfair parking charge to date, but now the court papers have arrived. I was nearly at the point of paying – I saw the “Northampton” address and there is no way I can travel there from Swansea with my 3 young children, but thanks to your newbies thread I realised I won’t have to go there. It will take me a while to get my defence together (within the dates of course!) I feel very frightened at the thought of court, I do not think well on my feet and the legal language goes over my head, but I’m so appalled at the behaviour of these bullies demanding my lunch money, as it were.

    I’m looking through all these lengthy defences, excuse my silly question but would it not be better just to start with a request that the case be struck out as there is no case against the keeper? Do PPCs ever win when they were outside the POFA time frame?
    I will post my defence when I have finished it, so this is just the start of the story… I did not want it to be long but would prefer the details are here and I feel some of the clever MSE posters will spot points of significance to help my defence in Gladstones language, or mistakes I made in my language … sorry. I’ll put it all in a second post shortly.

    A few questions:

    1 – I will acknowledge the court papers tomorrow probably. It looks like those wise members of MSE say not to counterclaim? So that is different than the court costs that people seem to get, such as time off from work? That is decided on the day, I take it? I must have already spent 20-30 hours over the past 2 years researching all this, when other defendants claim, this it seems this is different to the counterclaim? I do feel the PPC has been harassing and threatening me with no legal reason to do so…

    2 – I have never been able to speak to the manager of the petrol garage, it felt like a dead end after going in to ask a few times (Although I have spent a fortune there over the years, the driver was not a customer that day) is it worth pursuing this angle at this stage? It’s a big international company.

    3 – I dropped the ball on POPLA (see below) is that going to reflect badly?
Page 1
    • LucyBea
    • By LucyBea 17th May 17, 11:59 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    LucyBea
    • #2
    • 17th May 17, 11:59 PM
    • #2
    • 17th May 17, 11:59 PM
    The facts:

    The driver of my vehicle (2 people are insured on it) was parked in a petrol garage forecourt in Swansea for about 13 minutes, unaware of the poor and hidden signage from Millennium. This was back in July 2015 when Millennium were part of BPA. The signs (found after the PCN was given) allow parking for 10 minutes without a permit, a windscreen ticket was given after 11 minutes for “no permit displayed” for £100. (In retrospect the driver thinks they saw the ticket giver grinning at them as they returned to the vehicle.)

    The driver unfortunately did not appeal (I know!!!). POPLA was therefore not offered. Then a “notice to owner” was sent to me as keeper of the vehicle 3 months later for £150. I wrote to them pointing out that they had not complied with POFA’s timeline and had no cause against me as keeper.

    Debt recovery letters arrived & ignored, varying amounts.

    LBC from Gladstones arrived Sept 2016. I entered into email correspondence with them, first pointing out the lack of POFA, then asking for many points to be clarified to align with practice direction. I wrote politely, “for the judge” and asked for

    1. BASIS OF THE CLAIM AND WHY CLAIMANT SAYS I AM LIABLE (such as I asked for clarification as to whether this claim was against me as driver OR keeper of the vehicle in question, that simply writing driver/keeper as they do is not adequate.)
    (I also told them thought their statement “the Keeper of the vehicle is assumed to be the driver unless proven otherwise” to be an attempt to mislead and intimidate me.)

    2. SUMMARY OF THE FACTS (such as what the action was based on – contractual charge, breach of contract, trespass…)

    3. HOW THE AMOUNT OF MONEY DEMANDED HAS BEEN CALCULATED

    4. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (I proposed POPLA, as Millennium were BPA at the time of the PCN. But I’m afraid I never wrote to BPA to ask them…)

    Nothing from Gladstones until a few weeks back when they sent 3 photos of my vehicle’s windscreen (no signage in the pictures because there is none visible from where the car is parked) and an email with lines like “Further evidence will be provided in our Client's witness statement should the matter proceed to court” and “The parking charge was £100 on issue. As you did not pay the charge within the 28 days allowed you are in breach of contract. Breach of contract entitles the innocent party to damages as of right in addition to the parking charge incurred. As you didn’t pay the charge the matter was passed to us and the debt has, as a result of this referral risen as my client’s staff have spent time and material facilitating the recovery of this debt. This time could have been better spent on other elements of their business. My client believes the costs associated with such time spent were incurred naturally as a direct result of your breach and as such claims them as a damage. The costs are a pre-determined and nominal contribution to the actual losses. Alternatively, my client does have a right to costs pursuant to the sign (i.e. the contract).”

    They also say “As our client is not a member of the British Parking Association an appeal to POPLA is not possible. You had the opportunity to appeal, yet didn’t in the requisite time frame. In any event, had you appealed on the same grounds as you now do, it would have been refused. And, irrespective of whether any appeal was made or not, it would not impact on the lawfulness of the parking charge.”

    I replied in less than 7 days requesting the same details as before (but not actually detailing them, referring to the correspondence below). They replied saying their LBC was compliant with practice direction. I replied politely in less than 7 days:

    “Although you maintain your letter before claim was compliant, I am asking for very basic information and I think you need to review your records. To date you have provided a date, a location and this paragraph: “The debts relate to parking charges (detailed above) for which you are liable. Full details of the charges have previously been provided to you with the Parking Charge Notices and/or Notices to the Driver/Keeper that have been served upon you.”

    There is not nearly enough detail here for me to make any informed decisions nor a defence. I am a member of the general public with no legal training and you are a litigation assistant at a firm of solicitors, however my take on the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct is that the parties share as much information about the case as possible in order to avoid wasting the time of the Court.
    This is the fourth time I am asking for extremely basic information. I have used the appropriate Practice Direction headings to simplify it for you. Please can the following points from Paragraph 6 be clarified:”


    (I then went on to detail my questions again and I also said “I am somewhat perplexed by your statement “In any event, had you appealed on the same grounds as you now do, it would have been refused” which shows great disrespect for and misunderstanding of any appeals system that surprises me coming from a legal professional,” and

    “as you can see from the above steps I have been trying to resolve this issue reasonably though the proper and appropriate channels. Your client and unfortunately yourselves do not appear to be following the appropriate protocols. Instead, this badgering and bullying me to try to intimidate me into making a payment for which you have provided no just reason.”

    NEXT THING – COURT PAPERS.

    “The driver of the vehicle incurred the parking charges for breaching the terms of parking on the land at… The defendant was driving the vehicle and/or is the Keeper of the Vehicle. The claimant claims £125 for parking charges/ damages and indemnity costs if applicable….”

    If you got this far – many many thanks for reading, anything useful you’ve noticed would be gratefully received.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 18th May 17, 12:00 AM
    • 50,166 Posts
    • 63,545 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    • #3
    • 18th May 17, 12:00 AM
    • #3
    • 18th May 17, 12:00 AM
    Costs are not for any counter-claim. You get to claim your costs at the time nearer the hearing by filing a costs schedule with your Witness Statement or prior to the hearing (and take the list with you on the day).

    None of that is a 'counter-claim' because you don't have to pay a fee to claim your costs if you win. But that's all for later and down to the judge, who might even refuse costs anyway so don't hang your hat on it.

    excuse my silly question but would it not be better just to start with a request that the case be struck out as there is no case against the keeper? Do PPCs ever win when they were outside the POFA time frame?
    No, you MUST set out the points of defence you might later rely on as well, like dodgy signage, unclear markings/lines, maybe ''forbidding '' signs disallowing parking at all (no contract then), unreadable terms, no contract agreed, no landowner authority/standing to sue, etc.

    And yes I recall a poster on pepipoo who lost a case at Liverpool or Wigan Court, despite arguing the POFA point. The Judge just did not get it - at all.

    Always worth a landowner complaint, always! Even just to shake their comfy little tree.

    A lot of people don't try POPLA. the Judge won't care about that and will look at the facts.

    LoadsofChildren123 might stop by, as she knows about Millennium claims re Swansea. Sad to say at least one of the Judges there has been discussed on pepipoo this week, and has been worse than diabolical. Just warning you, this could be an uphill battle (but one worth fighting).
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • LucyBea
    • By LucyBea 18th May 17, 12:05 AM
    • 37 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    LucyBea
    • #4
    • 18th May 17, 12:05 AM
    • #4
    • 18th May 17, 12:05 AM
    Thank you so much Coupon Mad... food for thought, and very disappointed to hear about this Judge in Swansea, will look into that. I just cannot understand how our legal system is supporting these scams!
    • Lamilad
    • By Lamilad 18th May 17, 12:06 AM
    • 888 Posts
    • 1,863 Thanks
    Lamilad
    • #5
    • 18th May 17, 12:06 AM
    • #5
    • 18th May 17, 12:06 AM
    It looks like those wise members of MSE say not to counterclaim?
    In many cases that is the advice but it's fair to say we're reviewing that position where Millennium are concerned after reading this thread on Pepipoo today.

    http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=110949&st=120

    Other Millennium threads you need to read:
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5554723&highlight=jackbasta

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5591251
    • LucyBea
    • By LucyBea 24th May 17, 10:54 AM
    • 37 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    LucyBea
    • #6
    • 24th May 17, 10:54 AM
    • #6
    • 24th May 17, 10:54 AM
    Thank you so much for the links.

    I received court papers about 10 days ago now and I have only just found time to acknowledge receipt. With this in mind I am feeling like I really am not going to have time to go through all this (one of my children is a baby so time is always against me at the moment!)

    I can’t think Millennium/Gladstones would win in court, it is certainly a predatory scam - a large “no parking” sign then hidden small print signs, no grace period given, keeper not informed in time etc etc the usual stuff and I have every scrap of paperwork - but then I'm clearly very naive.

    God knows I do not want to let these bullies win, but the stress right now certainly isn’t worth it.
    I know this is probably not the venue for this question, but does anyone have any advice about settling? I was thinking of offering the lowest they ever offered me which was £60. Or if I pay up now do I have to pay the £75 court costs plus legal representative fee? (In addition to their inflated "amount claimed"...)

    I’m going to complain to Shell (via email) too – where we spend lots of money – so I have a couple of weeks now to see if that gets me anywhere…?

    Also can I quickly ask – why not a paper hearing? Just because it costs the PPC less?

    Thank you so much, and I apologise for not being at a period in my life where I can fight back as I should…
    • LucyBea
    • By LucyBea 25th May 17, 11:07 AM
    • 37 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    LucyBea
    • #7
    • 25th May 17, 11:07 AM
    • #7
    • 25th May 17, 11:07 AM
    Hi again,
    From the info above do people think I likely have a good enough case to win in court even if I perform really poorly on the day? No one has a crystal ball but lots of experience here at MSE!

    I remember back at some point there was information in the Newbies thread posted by Daisy about settling and making a "drop hands" offer (I think...?) I have searched for this but no luck!
    Is it that it's not perhaps supported by this forum anymore...?
    • waamo
    • By waamo 25th May 17, 11:24 AM
    • 2,019 Posts
    • 2,440 Thanks
    waamo
    • #8
    • 25th May 17, 11:24 AM
    • #8
    • 25th May 17, 11:24 AM
    I doubt they would settle for less than the full amount. In saying that the court offers mediation as standard. It won't hurt to try and make an offer if you accept mediation.

    Personally I think you have a very winnable case. Gladstones are noted for their incompetence in these cases which helps. I think you should fight it but appreciate it isn't always that easy.
    This space for hire.
    • LucyBea
    • By LucyBea 25th May 17, 9:43 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    LucyBea
    • #9
    • 25th May 17, 9:43 PM
    • #9
    • 25th May 17, 9:43 PM
    Thanks waamo...
    That is helpful and I'm coming around :-)
    I do remember this old posting from Daisy saying that you can suggest settlement in a tactical way, that it makes them look even worse if they refuse. So if they settle for less I can breathe a sigh of relief, if they say no I've just made my case a bit stronger...?

    Anyway I will have to do a defence now as I have said I am defending in full ... I suppose I will take it step by step...
    • beamerguy
    • By beamerguy 25th May 17, 10:08 PM
    • 5,987 Posts
    • 7,701 Thanks
    beamerguy
    Thanks waamo...
    That is helpful and I'm coming around :-)
    I do remember this old posting from Daisy saying that you can suggest settlement in a tactical way, that it makes them look even worse if they refuse. So if they settle for less I can breathe a sigh of relief, if they say no I've just made my case a bit stronger...?

    Anyway I will have to do a defence now as I have said I am defending in full ... I suppose I will take it step by step...
    Originally posted by LucyBea
    Just be grateful that you are dealing with the dregs of the scammers industry. Even without the parking scam, I would never trust Gladstones to do any legal work, their track record is disgusting
    RBS - MNBA - CAPITAL ONE - LLOYDS

    DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR
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